Arlington Among the Top Ten ‘Well-Read Cities’ in U.S.

by ARLnow.com May 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm 5,344 23 Comments

Arlington has been ranked among the most “well-read cities” in the United States, according to Amazon.com.

The internet retailer compiled sales data of all book, magazine and newspaper sales since Jan. 1, 2011 — in both print and Kindle formats — to find out which areas read the most on a per capita basis. Only “cities” with a population over 100,000 were considered.

Arlington ranked #10 on the list. Next-door neighbor Alexandria ranked #2, while the District ranked #14. Alexandria also topped the list of the cities that order the most children’s books.

See the full list, after the jump.

  1. Cambridge, Mass.
  2. Alexandria, Va.
  3. Berkeley, Calif.
  4. Ann Arbor, Mich.
  5. Boulder, Colo.
  6. Miami
  7. Salt Lake City
  8. Gainesville, Fla.
  9. Seattle
  10. Arlington, Va.
  11. Knoxville, Tenn.
  12. Orlando, Fla.
  13. Pittsburgh
  14. Washington, D.C.
  15. Bellevue, Wash.
  16. Columbia, S.C.
  17. St. Louis, Mo.
  18. Cincinnati
  19. Portland, Ore.
  20. Atlanta

  • Somebody should have read that Arlington is a county, not a city.

    • doodly

      Do we have to explain this one to you?

      • Actually, I’d prefer you not explain anything to me. Thanks.

        • doodly

          Suit yourself. Perhaps you could read about it instead, like you suggested.

          ArlNow even put “cities” in quotation marks, just for curmudgeons like you.

          • Actually, ArlNow put “Well-Read Cities” in quotes as a reference to the Amazon term utilized. Maybe you should be the one reading instead of looking for targets on a beautiful Friday morning.

    • Arlington Expert

      Overgrown Bush, a bit of Arlington trivia…Arlington is actually a city and a county which is very rare! Look it up, it’s true!

  • Curious George

    I thought Arlington is more blue than red.

    • arlcyclist

      The PRofA is more old school red.

    • John

      It used to be more red and less read.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    One slot up from Knoxville, TN?????

    • Mkt Common

      Heaven forbid! Good to know your Arlington snob factor is well-trenched.

    • Westover

      One would expect a College Town like Knoxville to be well read. In fact it looks like every city above Arlington is a college town.

  • Eric

    Newspaper sales?!? (rolls eyes)

    It would be nice to build in a measure of library usage…

    • Take it down a notch

      It’s Amazon. They used their sales data.

  • UrsusMajeure

    Quite a few of these are college towns where the university makes up a large percentage of the town’s residents… Cambridge, Berkeley, Ann Arbor, Boulder, Knoxville, etc…. and so Amazon’s sales data is thereby heavily skewed, I’m guessing, by textbook/assigned reading sales.

  • Aaron

    What percentage of the books shipped to these cities are trash paperbacks though? You might recall a couple months ago, Arlington and Alexandria were determined to be among the 20 most romantic cities in America, based on their consumption of romance novels, relationship guides, and intimate toys.


    All that this so-called well-read list reflects is which cities have populations with large sums of disposable income and broadband access. It doesn’t say anything about the quality of their reading.

    • MC

      Average book spend per capita would be a better measure. The Kindle now outsells physical books largely due to 99 cent downloads.

      Leaving Arlington out of this, got to think that the readers in Cambridge MA are reading very different stuff than those in Gainesville or Salt Lake City.

      • Hattie McDaniel

        Cambridge and Gainesville are both university cities. Why would they be that different?

    • Blueloom


  • TGEoA

    When is the the Central Library going to remove that picture of the bigot Helen Thomas?

    • Bluemontsince1961


    • Binyamin Netanyahu

      And replace it with a picture of me. After all, you need a reminder of where your money goes.

  • doodly

    What’s 80.6 percent white and read all over?


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